If Thursday’s loss to Florida within the second spherical of the Southeastern Convention match was the final sport of Arkansas ahead Daniel Gafford’s school profession, he wasn’t within the temper to say. However that didn’t forestall a tv reporter who was a part of the media huddled across the 6-foot-11 Gafford within the Razorbacks’ locker room to ask the inevitable query about when he was going to make the soar to the NBA.
Gafford’s reply spoke volumes about his character.
“I simply need to concentrate on the staff proper now,” Gafford stated.
The Gators buried Arkansas’ slim NCAA match hopes, and at 17-15, there’s no assure of an NIT bid, both. It’s uncertain the Hogs would play in one of many different, alphabet soup (CIT, CBI) occasions, so with an early begin on spring break. Gafford, a projected first-round NBA Draft choose, may additionally get an early begin on his decision-making course of.
A 12 months in the past, after his freshman season, Gafford shocked some Draft analysts by consulting with the Arkansas teaching employees and his household and deciding to return to highschool, regardless that he was typically considered first-round materials.
“It was a mature resolution,” says Arkansas affiliate head coach Melvin Watkins, “to say ‘I’m not fairly prepared but, and I’m having fun with the faculty expertise.’ In as we speak’s world, you get so many exterior influences, attempting to offer you their opinions. A few of them are self-serving. Some are motivating.”
Suffice it to say Gafford listened to these opinions within the latter camp, the individuals who thought he had some work left to do earlier than he ought to even think about the NBA. He was motivated to enhance, and enhance he did.
“I wished to work on my physique,” says Gafford, who weighs about 235, “and be extra bodily within the put up. I wished to maneuver my sport out to the free-throw line the place I may assault the basket, and I wished to work on my soar shot. However I didn’t shoot that many jumpers this 12 months, which was a disappointment to me.”